So much has been written about this weekend, what could there possibly be left say? I don't know about you guys, but the coverage has actually been somewhat exhausting for me. There's only so many angles you can cover. I think that every possible storyline, stat, name, and prediction has been thrown out this week. Bottom line, I'm just ready for the game to start. Once the opening kickoff happens, it's all about focusing on the Saints' improbable capping of this season with a SuperBowl victory. The most dangerous matchup, in my opinion, will be covering Dallas Clark. The Saints will need to focus on this if they want to hoist the Lombardi trophy.
Saints vs Colts coverage
-- Drew Brees will make plays.
-- Peyton Manning will make plays.
-- Both teams will want to put pressure on the opposing quarterbacks, exposing themselves at times to big plays.
-- No way Dwight Freeney doesn't suit up for this game, but his performance will be affected by his injury significantly.
Everyone knows these by now things by now, so I'm glad we've covered it and gotten it out of the way.
Now I know Reggie Wayne is a perennial all pro and Manning's new favorite target. I know he's put up gaudy numbers in each of the last six seasons, and few and far between are the teams that have been able to limit his effectiveness. But I'm actually not that worried about Wayne, or Pierre Garcon, or Austin Collie. While these guys have been dangerous and they've made plays all season for the Colts - we've seen over and again that Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter and Darren Sharper - to name a few - have been able to limit some of the best and most dangerous of receivers out there. I'm not saying these receivers won't make any plays won't hurt the Saints, but I don't think they'll ultimately be the difference in the game. The Saints do have an answer for those dangerous receivers, and they have the ability to limit them.
My question is this: Do the Saints have any answer for Dallas Clark? With the game on the line, can they resort to anything that can stop him? I'm not convinced the answer is yes. The Saints can throw a mix of these players in coverage on Clark: Scott Shanle, Scott Fujita, Jonathan Vilma, Roman Harper, and Randall Gay. None of these options make me fill warm and fuzzy inside. In fact, most of these options make my stomach pretty uneasy. Clark has an incredible combination of speed, hands, size and strength that's a nightmare matchup for almost any defense. Most of you that have been loyal CSC supporters long enough will know that I wrote a similar post outlining the Saints' matchup problems against the Atlanta Falcons and Tony Gonzalez. The problem with Clark is he's faster than Gonzalez, and the quarterback throwing to him might be the best in NFL history. The Saints are exposed against teams with a very good tight end because their strong safety is such a liability in coverage, and when Peyton Manning is throwing to him the problem is pronounced.
Do you think the Saints successfully limit Dallas Clark enough to win the game? If so, how do you think they'll do it?